Introducing the Mayor of Ilfracombe – Councillor Val Gates
Our new mayor has lived in Ilfracombe for 14 years via Lancashire, Birmingham and London where she worked for various international banks and insurance companies. She now works locally, alongside her wife Amanda, as a co-director of a psychology consultancy company.
Val has a very sporting background having competed at Olympic level in the shot and javelin. She has played international hockey, golf and county cricket. Val also found herself at the Seoul Olympics with the Great Britain 3 day Eventing Team where she represented her company as owner and sponsor of the horse that won both team Silver and Individual Bronze medals.
Following a local advertisement in 2013, Val applied for and was selected as one of the first of six independent directors on the board of One Ilfracombe. During her 3 years on the board she was a champion for and a driving force behind the creation of the Town Team and numerous other local initiatives.
In 2015 a group of town councillors decided to put aside national politics and solely focus on putting Ilfracombe to the fore, which prompted Val to stand for Town Council to which she was duly elected that same year.
During her time as a Councillor, Val acted as the Chair of the Staffing Committee she focussed on the operational restructuring of Town Council staff. The resulting fiscal saving was reinvested in the delivery of services of direct benefit to the Town at a time when District and County funding had been cut or completely removed. These services included the establishing of the Town Maintenance Operative role and the purchase of the Town Council van.
Having spent the last two years as the Deputy Mayor to Cllr Paul Crabb, who alongside her new Deputy Cllr Steve “The King of Christmas” Trebble Val would like to thank for their past and ongoing support. She was elected Mayor of Ilfracombe in May.
During her time as Mayor, Val would like to adopt a strategic approach to issues and initiatives which see’s actions triumph over words, with ideas coming to fruition and where positivity overcomes negativity. There will be a strong focus on the celebration of volunteers both as individuals and as groups. She is very keen to encourage and support the Ilfracombe Youth Council and the Junior Mayor.
“ I have little tolerance with ‘talking shops’ and want to ensure some of the ‘talk’ translates into positive action. We have an amazing town full of amazing volunteers whose contribution must NOT go unrecognised or unsupported. Ilfracombe has come a long way since I moved here permanently and I want to ensure that momentum is not checked and keeps moving forward”
Val is also an active member of the Ilfracombe and District Lions Club and is on the Ifs Twinning Committee.
The Mayors primary charities for the year will be The Royal British Legion and Plastic Free Ilfracombe.